There’s no question that your child needs time to play on their own and with other children. However, research has also proven that playtime with parents is also crucial to a child’s development.
In fact, children want time with their parents. It is something that makes them feel important and special. Today, parents are encouraged by experts to find time to play with their children regularly, regardless of their age.
Engaging in Play
During times of pretend play, allow your child to develop the theme and story. Take time to get into their world and just “go with it.” As questions and play along. If you need some props for your imaginative playtime, check out some of the options at pleygo.com. The key to this type of playtime is to avoid overstimulation and know when it is time to stop.
When appropriate, bring in puppets or stuffed animals to reenact various real-life situations that can help your child learn social skills or problem-solving. Use the puppet to show the wrong way to handle certain situations. After this, let your child guide a better way.
Playtime Options to Engage and Teach
The fact is, there are more than a few ways you can use play as a way to help your child learn valuable skills and teach them important life lessons. Some of the other ways you can do this are found here.
Push your child on the swings, throw a ball, go on a walk around the neighborhood – the options for outside play are endless. From time to time, make sure to invite other children over to play, which gives the perfect opportunity to teach your child about sharing and fair play.
Board games and card games are a great way to teach your child problem-solving skills. You can also teach them how to be a gracious winner and good sport when they lose. Make sure to praise them when they do well and encourage them during the game.
From puzzles and Legos to erector sets (find more sets at StarWalkKids.com) and more, you can spend quality time with your child building something. This is an activity that helps teach your child how to follow directions and finish a project that you start. It’s also a fun activity to do together as you can talk and laugh throughout the building process.
Listen to Music
Sing along to a silly song or play rhythm instruments along with the music playing. You can even take out your keyboard or sign up for guitar lessons and make music together. To help make this an even more awarding time for your child, consider setting up a token system for the goals they want to achieve during music time. Later on, they may be able to exchange these tokens for bigger rewards. You may even give them a music medallion as a reward. Having a tangible award along with verbal acknowledgment doesn’t only make your child happy for their achievement, but it encourages learning too! This helps them have a clearer focus on what milestones to achieve in the future.
Read a Story
When reading encourage your child to ask questions and take turns reading (if the child is old enough). You can also ask them to change up the story or make up a brand new one.
Other Tips for Productive Play
Be sure to help your children when they ask for it or when it is clear they need it. However, make sure you use this time to teach them things like creativity, social skills, problem-solving, and patience.
The bottom line is that playing with your children will help build a bond that is going to last forever. However, it offers other benefits, too. During this play, you can ensure your child is developing the skills they need now and that they will use in the future. You will also get an opportunity to see if there are areas that you need to work on with your child. This is invaluable to ensure your child turns into a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted adult.
Find more great tips in our kids and health/wellness categories.
Meg is an author at Cinnamon Hollow. She writes on a variety of topics sharing tips and ideas for daily life.
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